An "easily amused writer" from Calgary is set to launch a novel recreational league that involves a city-wide treasure hunt with clues leading to a real treasure chest with a cash prize inside.
What's the catch? It's not the type of league that involves getting hit with a dodge ball, but it does include chasing down $500 in cash, says Anders Svensson, who admits he's "not an eccentric billionaire."
The thrill of this hunt will appeal to people who love to solve puzzles, enjoy adventure and exploring the city, with a nice payoff.
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"It occurred to me, what could be better than there always being a treasure hidden somewhere out in Calgary ... if only you knew where it was."
The Treasure League kicks off on Feb. 1 when participants will receive their first clue after signing up. The fee to sign on is $10 to cover the costs. Beginning the first of every month, clues will begin randomly landing in members' inboxes and continue over several weeks.
Svensson says he's not expecting to make money, only to break even as more people join the Treasure League.
One wooden box somewhere in Calgary
Like many Calgarians, he recently lost his job and works as a freelance copywriter. He then spent some time in the startup community where small businesspeople are encouraged to start a business with a small investment. But he decided to flip that around.
"What's the smallest thing that would be the most entertaining?" he asked. "One wooden box hidden somewhere in the city we all live in and emails — and make a giant game out of that."
There will be a mixed bag of rhyming clues, standard puzzles that Svensson has "subverted a little," and maybe passages of fiction.
"Month to month there will be a theme, and I'll make sure those clues fit the theme. It's supposed to be fun and achievable . . . you might have to figure out how the clues fit together."
There are also chances to hook up with other treasure hunters and compare notes. Or, get bonus clues through social media. But for the most part, the game could be played from home until players figure out the location of the treasure chest.
"The game is designed for me to lose every month," he says. But, ultimately, he's hoping the idea will take off and become entertainment for many people living in Calgary.
"I would be delighted that when people were asked what they were doing this weekend, they would say, 'I belong to the Treasure League,' so I must go find the treasure.' "
Details at treasureleague.com.